Thursday, August 28, 2014

project sam—kindergarten!

sam and his plastic "i know you want me to smile and look 'normal'" smile (also our nice, new fence and awful weeds)

the real sam

sam and his good buddy remond | sam and his teacher, mrs. smith (you can tell who he was most excited to see)

sam started his first day of kindergarten today! it was just a half day (we don't start in to full days until after the labor day holiday—they like to ease the kids in), but sam was so ready. while other kids were clinging onto parents for dear life or shedding tears, i asked sam if he wanted me to stand in line with him and his response was "no. i'm okay with my friends." that's my sam.
at noon, we picked him up and heard that he had lost another tooth while he was there, and several classmates commented about the fact that he got a tiny "tooth box" to keep his tooth in. it was a very exciting day. sam's report: "it was good."

sam and his tiny "tooth box"


in honor of sam heading off to his first day of kindergarten, i made him a little sign (full disclosure: i saw one like this on pinterest, but i like a diy, so...). too bad he probably can't read all of this yet. he's getting dangerously close to being able to, though. he's about to break the "let's spell whatever it is so he won't know what we're talking about code (dang!) he already figured out "i c e c r e a m", and "d e s s e r t". (actually, even lucy knows what "d e s s e r t" is at this point. if it's mentioned, she will ask for "drt".)
anywho, in case you need a reminder/motivator for your mornings, you can get a pdf here to print out one of your own.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

pooh boots, for posterity

video

the lucy project—lucy @ 2


for the past month or so i've been thinking about the post i wrote about sam when he was two, and the list of all the fun, quirky things that he was doing at that age. i've been thinking that i wanted to do the same for lucy, but every time i sat down to the computer, i just didn't know how to put lucy into words. or maybe it was that there just seemed to be a lot of words, because even though lu is a small person, she's got a lot of personality, and trying to cram all that into one list felt like trying to cram a whale into a tin can (not easy). however, i've decided to make an attempt, if only because not making an attempt means that i'd have nothing to reminisce over later on.

things i want to remember about lucy at two:

- the sparkly shoes. the red sparkly shoes that came from cousin alice are the footwear of choice these days and are definitely a hallmark of lucy's style. sometimes she adds a hat (sometimes daddy's so she can be "tiny daddy", sometimes mommy's, sometimes the felt bucket that she refers to as the "toothpaste hat"), or her pink blanket (if she's a "cold princess"), and frequently there are sunglasses involved, but mostly it's all about the shoes. and they are so VERY important. also adding to the girly factor, her favorite color is pink. if we can't find the "happy airplane" shirt, the "daddy angel" onesie, a buckeye shirt, or the darth vader tee, i better be able to dig up something pink, otherwise "naked" will be the outfit of the day.

- the puzzles. we are puzzled daily. she's very fond of one or two in particular, and as soon as she gets the last piece in we have to break it apart so we can do it again (and again, and again). my favorite part is the "ta-da!" at the end.

- speaking of ta-da's, there are lots of words. i'd do a count of her vocabulary, but there are really too many to keep track of. several people have commented on her verbal-ness, but considering the company she keeps (sam), it's no wonder that she's got a lot to say. also, one does not get the nickname "tiny tyrant" without being able to instruct her subjects about what they should (or shouldn't) be doing. the girl knows what she wants, and for better or worse, she will let you know what that is.

- that when lucy plays with action figures, everyone gives hugs and kisses. sure, they also knock each other down (they ARE action figures), but it's also likely that there will be a few hugs and kisses thrown in, and it makes me smile every time i see the riddler or doctor doom giving robin a nice wet one. i don't know if it's a "girl" thing or a lucy thing, but there is a lot of lovin' to be had with this little lady.

- that funny thing where she puts rubber bands on her hands and calls them lucy duck and sammy duck (and she's very specific which one is lucy and which is sammy, i tried mixing them up and was sternly corrected). then i have to be mommy and daddy ducks with my hands.

- that she likes to draw people. her people have heads, eyes, mouths, legs (she often calls them "foots"), and usually one arm, and hair. sometimes you can even tell what she's been drawing. i am also instructed regularly to draw family portraits. most recently it was a family portrait of everyone as turtles.

- that she is determined. lucy likes to do things on her own and in her own way. when she got her doll and pink stroller at oglegay, she declared that she was going to walk from our cabin to the playground (which was a walk that i couldn't get sam to do without complains), and darned if she didn't walk all the way there, pushing the little stroller, by herself. 

- lucy is all about the do-it-yourself attitude. she handles a spoon and fork almost as well as sam (sometimes better), and is very close to being able to dress herself (possibly with everything being backwards). she prefers to brush her own teeth (but we force her to get help anyway), and she has figured out how to go up and down the stairs standing up (which occasionally freaks me out). she can definitely do enough climbing to get herself into trouble if not watched, and i have to keep an eye on her at the playground, lest she get in over her head.



- like sam, lucy loves to sing and dance. favorite songs include, "elmo ducks", "man sing", itsy-bitsy spider, baa baa black sheep (sometimes "baa baa pink sheep"), twinkle twinkle little star, and the voltron theme song. i'm sure there are others, including those she makes up on her own.

- she has taken to building cities and playgrounds with wood blocks and sometimes make spaceships with legos that she will zoom around. when she does, i definitely feel like i've been here before. i do believe the ends of her jump rope were rockets this morning.



all in all, lucy is about as awesome as can be. she may be little, but she's definitely a force to be reckoned with. happy second birthday, little lu. you are a precious, precocious, little bear and i love you so!



lucy's stats at two:
height - 34.25 inches (59th percentile)
weight - 21.06lbs (below 3rd percentile)

Friday, June 13, 2014

"the dishes will always be there..."

the after-effects of "spiderman ice cream" on the tongue (i was also informed this morning that it makes "green poop")

if you're on facebook at all, i'm sure you've seen a ton of those little, witty quotes typeset in boxes, sometimes with the little vintage illustrations? yeah? well, there are a specific bunch that always drive me bonkers, the ones that have sayings to the tune of "the dirty dishes will still be there, your kids won't." arrgh. 
as if i don't have enough guilt while working from home (and letting my kids watch a few too many episodes of power rangers), or for taking the time to peruse facebook (and instagram, oh instragram how i adore thee) while the kids are scarfing down their meals, now i have to feel guilty for cleaning? that's just...crazy talk. seriously.
it's not like i'm little miss clean-y pants with my spotless house that i don't let anyone make messes in. on the contrary, the kids are constantly eating "meals on the go" as they run around the house spreading crumbs like a plague. but once they're done (okay, maybe a few days later, that's AFTER), yeah, i totally go around with my broom and dustpan and do my best to, at the very least, keep the house from being a total shambles (also, we have an ant problem, and double also, i hate the feeling of dirt stuck to the bottoms of my feet).
so to those who post all that kind of nonsense about my kids are growing up and i should be enjoying them, thanks for the reminder to appreciate my kids, BUT (and this is a big, fat but) i think my kids are learning at least two valuable lessons from seeing me tiding up around the house (yes, despite the look of it, i actually do clean):
1) everyone has responsibilities. when i'm doing dishes (or laundry, or sweeping the floor, or putting things away), i hope my kids don't see that as "gee, mom really likes to clean. look at her go!", but that people (grown-ups and kids) have to do a lot of things that aren't fun, but that need doing. laundry is not my greatest joy, vacuuming toast crumbs out of the living room rug is not my definition of a good time, but like a lot of things in life, they need to be done. and though it looks like a small thing (though you should have SEEN the dirt that came out of the rug by the side door, it was impressive, people), if all these small, boring things didn't get done, the house would soon be a much less pleasant place to wreak havoc.
2) sometimes we need to be patient. i totally want my kids to know that they're important to me, much more important than things (like the walls they keep trying to put holes in), but to a certain degree they need to realize that life isn't all about them. sometimes i need them to color by themselves or push the pause button on the thirteenth diatribe about power rangers ("but not jungle fury power rangers, but the other kind, and i'm the gold one and my friend is the green one..."), because sometimes, just sometimes, other things need to be my priority. 
and this is where those those sayings about "the dishes will always be there..." really get to me, because, yes, the dishes WILL be there, and heck if i'm going to take space out of the two hours after the kids go to bed that i get for "my own" to do that kind of stuff. no way. most of the time that's dedicated to working on freelance anyway, so it's already taken, yo. so thanks for the guilt. thanks for the reminders about childhood is fleeting (yes, i know that, and that's why i spend an extra ten minutes after lu falls asleep to hold her and give her a few kisses on her "only little once" cheeks), but i can't always let the passage of time be like some rabid beast chasing me into stressing that i'm missing every precious moment. not all moments are precious, or at least, not all moments need to be witnessed and appreciated by me to be precious. stop trying to make me crazy. unless you haven't noticed, i'm already there.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

project sam—a quick, or perhaps lengthy, update

video
it's hard to know exactly what to say about sam, there's really so much to say. so much. really, there's too much. sam is sometimes just too much. too awesome, too exasperating. just generally a lot. (as you can see in the video, sam is an instigator of loud and silly, and lucy reaps the benefits regularly.)

things that sam is really into doing as of now: 
- making stuff. we have so many papers and things sitting around the house that sam has made that it's completely ridiculous. not only does he bring creations home from school, but i think it the last four months or so he's gone through at least a ream of paper (most of which mike pulled from the recycle bin at work) making all kinds of things for everyone. some of the things are given away to friends, but lots seem to have accumulated all over the house. sometimes i wish i could keep everything, but most of the time i feel a little drowned in all of his artwork. a few examples of sam's prolific creativity:
 the strawberry gum drawing for his friend in honor of the fact that his friend had given him a piece of gum


 illustration of a glass of water

photo of sam with a tie bomber (or perhaps a tie interceptor) that he crafted in honor of mike's birthday


i should also mention that sam is also a bit of a creativity instigator at school, which has resulted in a proliferation of artwork sent home for the express purpose of being given to lucy. i can think of at least three friends who have made things to come home to lucy. this is enough of a thing that sam's teacher has mentioned it multiple times in his daily reports!

- the new friends. sam recently discovered that over the long, cold winter two boys have moved into the house that backs on to our newly purchased empty lot. the boys (ages six and four) have quickly become his reason for getting up in the morning (or at the very least, a reason to put on clothes). and though i'm really glad that sam now has playmates in close proximity, it also means that there is a lot of distress when the new friends aren't able to play (or we have plans that would conflict with playtime). hopefully the fact that his friends will "still be there tomorrow" will soon take hold, and the fact that they're not together all the time won't be such a cause for alarm.

- riding his bike. we recently came into possession of a hand-me-down bike with training wheels. it was a long time in coming, as sam was loathe to be too grown for his beloved big wheel, but he could no longer pedal in comfort, as his knees were constantly bumping into the handlebars. 
we were really lucky that there was a bike to be handed down, and though there were a few issues at the outset, he's become quite fond of pedaling up and down the driveway and on short walks to the playground. there have been several excited exclamations about him being able to ride his bike to school next year. which means a) we're going to have to build some time into our commute to school come fall, and b) we either have to get sam a bike lock, or i need to figure out how i'm going to get lucy and a bike home from school each day.

- and speaking of school. wednesday will be sam's last day of preschool. i think this year of preschool has been about the best as i could have imagined. sam has made several really good friends, and has learned a lot. we're looking forward to attending his open house this tuesday. at the conference with his teacher, i got a sneak peek of his journal that he's been talking about all year. it is definitely something for the "keepsake box". his teacher was specifically impressed with the "detail" in his drawings, and it was interesting to hear about sam from her perspective.

- writing. for the past couple months sam has been working on sounding out words and writing things down. he's still not all that interested in reading books, but he does enjoy sitting down and trying to write out things that he's drawing or are of particular interest to him (mostly making books dedicated to the different kinds of star wars ships). one of these days i hope he'll find reading to be of more interest, but his teacher said that doing things this way works too, and at this point not to put a lot of pressure on him. still, i'm working on encouraging him in any way possible.

- t-ball. we signed sam up to play t-ball this summer. right now we're struggling with the fact that games and practices take away from "hanging out with neighbors" time, but i'm really hoping he'll warm up to it a little bit more as the summer goes on. once he's there, i think he's generally glad to be out with other kids, but the fact that some of the kids have more skill than he does right now is frustrating for him. i'm also hoping that he'll realize that sometimes just doing your best and having fun is good enough and not everything has to be about winning and being the best. that lesson is a hard one, even for grown-ups.

back at it—the new addition


after a little break (or a big break, whatever, let's not judge), i've decided that i really need to make time for doing this blog thing. not because anyone out in the world really needs to read my ramblings, but because i need to put them here. 
i've totally realized that i miss having a spot to go back and look at what was going on in our family life, what the kids were up to, what kind of projects i was working on (or more likely, that sam was working on), etc. i missed all that stuff and nonsense. i also realized that a lot of times, i was trying to compose blog posts in my head, but was never making the time to put them somewhere for keeps. they need to be somewhere for keeps. i need this.
so, i might as well get back to it. even in my regularly irregular way. because it's okay to be messy, particularly if all this is supposed to be a reflection of myself and what life is like right now, it's messy and cluttered. but it's also good, and totally worth remembering.
it's all okay. it'll be okay. and let's get on with it, already.

to start off with, last friday we finally signed the platt and paid for the empty lot on the south side of our house. right now it's basically a big patch of weeds with two large trees in it, but we've basically just doubled the size of our property. it seemed like it took forever to get to this point (lots of submitting of papers to the city, lots of waiting, needing to get surveys done, and mike attending several city planning meetings of one kind and another). but now it's basically ours, and we can get on with the actual, physical doing involved.
step one is going to be getting the trees checked out and having two trees removed from the back property line. i've always been a little wary of the big trees on the lot for the simple reason that they seemed to be constantly dropping large branches all over the place, and since i've never in my life been responsible for a large tree (or really anything bigger than a shrub), i assumed this wasn't exactly a good sign. so mike contacted a company that's going to check and trim the trees, and hopefully will determine that they're sound enough to leave in place. the trees at the back of the property seem to be fine, but they're right on the property line, and so are an issue when it comes to the fence we want to build around our new, bigger yard. once we have our tree issues resolved, we'll move on to step two, (hopefully) regrading.

Friday, October 18, 2013

sometimes words are more than i can handle

i've been working on a post about some exciting news, but finding the words is more than i can seem to handle right now. so i'm posting some photos of what we've been up to lately (and some captions, because i guess i have enough words for that). 
 about a week and a half ago lucy started walking for real. she still seems to prefer crawling most of the time because she's still unsteady on her feet (and her crawl is a lot faster), but she definitely can go around on her own two feet without assistance. 
 sam has been working on his list of sight words, and has them pretty firmly under his belt (though he occasionally has trouble with short a and short i words, like "it" and "at" or "in" and "an"). since he was able to do most of the words on his flashcards, i started to string them together into short sentences for him to read. these are a few he was able to do. i'm hoping he'll realize that reading isn't too far from his grasp, though i'm not sure that he's all that interested in reading on his own. perhaps we need different reading materials.
air-popped popcorn is tasty AND entertaining,
 and great for sharing.
 road trip view
and a few of niagara falls through a fence.
 a ride around the state park is a good time to relax.
but sometimes it's better get out and walk.
 perfect weather really makes everything feel grand.
 but the water had places to go and things to do.
 and we got a hitchhiker.
 but then it was over.
 and we drove back home.
 to find that the halloween mask had arrived! brilliant!
 there was a lot of picking up sam from school. and girly time with me and my little moviestar.
who was infatuated with daddy's stack of novels.

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